LORI WEBER MENKE: Supermom and the Data War

Everyday we send them and we receive them. Text messages. Why bother calling when you can text? Your children probably won't answer their phones anyway, so why not send them a text--to which they respond immediately.


Everyday we send them and we receive them. Text messages. Why bother calling when you can text? Your children probably won't answer their phones anyway, so why not send them a text-to which they respond immediately.

I do enjoy texting and being able to stay in touch with my children throughout the day this way. A simple text alerts me to the fact that they have arrived home, are finished with baseball practice or want to be picked up a little later from a birthday party. It helps us keep tabs on each other.

But there is one little text message that comes occasionally that throws our entire family into disarray. Things will be going along smoothly and then BAM-a single text from our cell phone provider will upset the entire family balance.

This little seemingly innocent message starts what I refer to as the Data Wars.

Verizon Msg: You've used about 75% of your data plan (cycle ends the 19th). Extra data for this cycle will be $15 per 1GB.


It seems innocent enough. A simple reminder from Verizon alerting us to the fact we are at 75 percent of our data plan.

How many days are left in the billing cycle will determine how bad the war will become. This month, we are in the middle of an all-out Data War at our house.

Our first text came only 15 days into our billing cycle on July 4-15 days left until the magical pot of data starts over. It was not good.

In the middle of a summer when everyone knows we are constantly in the car, the battle began instantly. Fingers were pointed. Accusations were flying. Even Supermom was dragged into the battle.

Verizon has this nifty little app that lets you see exactly which device has used the most data. While I appreciate that they allow you to see this and it can be handy to know, it has added increased surgence to the war. Whoever has used the most is instantly the bad guy in the Data War. The person who has used the least is the good guy.

In the Court of Data War, we were all told exactly how much data we had misused, how many minutes we had spent talking on the phone and how many text messages we have received and sent. It seriously was like being on trial. I apparently am guilty of using the most phone minutes, which are unlimited, but my apparent transgression still needed to be presented to the family court.

My son Riley was found guilty of using the most data and sending the most text messages. This is quite a serious offense according the his family (secretly we were all relieved we were not the guilty party).

Now that we all know Riley is the guilty party, we all settle into a peace treaty of sorts. Things go back to normal for some time. But now we are still days away from the end of our billing cycle and then comes the dreaded 90% text.


Verizon Msg: You've used about 90% of your data plan. Extra data for this cycle will be $15 per 1GB.

At this point, full-fledged panic sets in. Every person is back to their battle stations.

Everyone involved in the battle is instructed their phones must remain on airplane mode when not in the vicinity of wifi. Things are really getting ugly now. My husband, Jayson, is constantly monitoring to see which child (if any) is breaking the airplane mode mandate.

This Supermom is volunteering to drive everywhere so the temptation to check Facebook and Twitter while riding shotgun can be avoided. Children have to resort to (gulp) reading a book.

It's looking grim. We are not sure anyone will survive the war at this point.

More often than not, we end up all surviving the Data War. Although, I am sure we will lose a time or two. As long as I continue to escape being the guilty party I figure I can keep my Supermom title a little longer.

Wish me luck-but please don't email or text me until Monday as I am trying to conserve data.

Until next time,



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